Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lost Boy

Jon isn't your typical runaway. When he flees Unity he leaves behind a polygamous community, the only home he's ever known. The past couple of years Jon found himself questioning a lot of the beliefs and morals favored in his community and when he was caught kissing a girl he decided enough was enough. Although he begged Celeste to come with him he knew she wouldn't budge, she couldn't bear to leave her family behind, even if it meant she would be married off to an older man. Jon soon discovers that the easiest part is escaping, the hardest part is living. He is taken in by Abigail, a kind older women who has been known to take in all the Unity refugees. He rules are strict, everyone must help out around the house, attend school, and get a job which is easier said then done. Jon is at a serious disadvantage, he hasn't attended classes in years and is woefully behind his peers. Will Jon have what it takes to persevere or will he just give up? A good book that shows the reality of escaping a hard situation.

Fables: Wolves

I've only been waiting FOREVER for more Bigby action!!! After Bigby's self-exile from Fabletown, Prince Charming decides that enough is enough. He sends Mowgli to track down where in the world the wolf went. Prince Charming has a plan and he can't do it without Bigby. He promises to find a way for Bigby to be with Snow White and their children, which is all that Bigby really wanted anyways. The task he's given is beyond dangerous but he's definitely the man for the job. Nothing will get between him and his family.

Fables: Arabian Nights (and Days)

I thought this one was fun because we get to meet one of the many world contained in the homelands; the Arabian Empire. So far the Adversary hasn't taken over their lands, but it's only a matter of time. An emissary from their land comes to Fabletown for talks and things escalate quickly when Prince Charming discovers they brought a jinn with them. It's the most destructive magical thing in existence and it could drastically change the direction of their alliance talks.

Fables: The Homelands

I love getting more back story. The further these graphic novels go on, the more fleshed out the setting and characters are. I know I keep saying it but it literally keeps getting better and better! Each installment is five star worthy!

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

I'm not going to lie, this book was...... pretty meh compared to the first two. Granted it was written like a decade later and Bridget is now in her *gasp* FIFTIES!!! Not only is Bridget older, "wiser," and more stable; she's changed up her diary format (boo!). Broken into sections that go back in forth in time, Mad About The Boy picks up after Mark Darcy her husband has been dead for five years and Bridget has been on her own rearing their kids. Due to pressure from her friends she decides that it is now time to start dating again. She quickly discovers that a widow in her fifties with two young children is not the most sought after, and she thought her thirties were rough! She has to navigate texting (how do you interpret what they mean?), twitter, and beauty products. Bridget is witty as ever and somehow readers know everything will be alright. Honestly though.... still pissed they killed off Darcy. Oh well, he was too good for her anyways!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Fables: The Mean Seasons

The plot thickens! The Mean Seasons isn't just one story-line, there are several side stories, back stories and different threads that pick up where volume four left off. Snow White is in labor (is there more than one baby in there?!?), the mayoral election between king Cole and Prince Charming is getting heated, and where in the hell has Little Boy Blue run off to this time? I particularly like the World War II backstory of Bigby; it's like a movie! Monsters and Nazis, oh my! Another amazing volume, this series is money in the bank!

25 Greatest Sports Stories in the History of Indiana

A monumental and impressive collection on what makes Indiana special and unique... sports. Lovingly curated and written, this coffee table book compiles twenty five of the greatest sports stories in Indiana (out of hundreds, whittling the list down must have been a nightmare!). When outsiders think of Indiana the first two things that pop to mind are basketball and the Indy 500. Behind that you'll get the Colts and the Pacers and Notre Dame and IU; but the most iconic imagery anyone can muster up about this great state ALWAYS centers on sports. And that isn't a problem, it just makes Hoosiers unique. When the treasury minted new quarters, one for each state; Indiana was the only state that featured a sports symbol, the race car. Even Naismith, the inventor of the game basketball said, "Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport." 9 out of the largest 10 basketball gymnasiums in the world are found in Indiana. No matter where you go in the state, you cannot escape basketball hoops, they're lovingly placed on garages, barns, parks, dead ends, and anywhere they can fit. This collection covers sports heroes, venues, teams, and coaches; from Franklin's Wonder Five to Bob Knight to the Zeller family to the Milan Miracle. It's a wonderful tribute and is a must own for every Hoosier!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers

Seriously, this series is gold. Each volume gets even better. As if Fabletown didn't have enough drama to deal with eternally, they may have a new threat. It's been nearly two centuries since anyone escaped from their ancestral land and made it into the mundy world. Red Riding Hood shows up out of the blue, somehow having escaped the adversary, but something isn't right. Bigby Wolf thinks she might be a spy so he sets about trying to prove it. Meanwhile a very large and very pregnant Snow White must keep the peace and keep Fabletown going while Bigby is off collecting evidence. Love it!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Summer Wives

Atmospheric and beautiful; this historical coming of age novel of romance, mystery, and murder is hard to put down. Alternating between three timelines, but all set on a small ritzy island where the divide between the "families" who summer there and the islanders who live there year round is palpable and unchanging. When Miranda's mother meets and marries a rich islander in the early fifties they move to the island and Miranda becomes better acquainted with her new stepfather and stepsister. Miranda has no idea how quickly her life will change when she starts to crush on the boy next door (aka the lighthouse next door). The story alternates between that seemingly idyllic summer as a teenager and her life as a famous actress returning to the island nearly two decades later. There is a lot of unanswered questions about what happened that summer and how the ripples of their actions changed everything. Intrigue, secrets, murder, cocktails, romance, and more. For fans of historical romance.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Fables: Storybook Love

This is definitely one of my favorites because we finally get a little bit of action between Snow White and Bigby, I've only been shipping them for forever! Besides that plot thread there are some interesting other little side stories between Bluebeard and Prince Charming and then of course the tale of the barley-corn which I ADORE. Another great installment of Fables that hooks readers in. I love this series and I love how much character development is added each issue!

My Life as a White Trash Zombie

How could you not read a book with a title and cover like this?! It's impossible to pass up! I was glad the story lived up to the high expectations set by the badass cover-art, it was unique, fun, and well written. Angel goes from being a low life pill addict with an abusive father and asshole boyfriend, to nearly dead in an accident. She doesn't have much memory of what happened but apparently she overdosed on a boatload of pills even though she's convinced she was actually in a car wreck. As if that's not weird enough she's given a note and a case full of drinks when she's discharged from the hospital. She's to drink one of the weird drinks a day and then report to the morgue for a job. If she doesn't.... well, some of her former felonies will bite her in the ass. Suddenly she has a schedule, a job (which she surprisingly likes), and is clean (after the accident drugs and alcohol seem to have no effect on her). Her white trash life has been turned around! Only there is one problem.... she discovers she might actually be a zombie. Her job at the morgue could be a lot more crucial for her survival then she thought. Fun with a little hint of mystery this is a fun start to a series that I would love to finish!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Then She Was Gone

This reads like one of the more messed up Law and Order episodes. It's really dark, really messed up, and only gets weirder. It's a little unrealistic at times, but that certainly didn't stop me from listening. I had to know what happened and how the mess was going to unfold. Ten years ago Ellie Mac went to walk to the library and was never seen again. No trace of her was ever found. Her mother Laurel, never quite knew how to pick the pieces and it resulted in a divorce and strained relationship with her two remaining children. On the decade anniversary she starts to get some closure and she meets a man who seems to good to be true. Just when Laurel thinks the past is finally buried, she discovers some shocking secrets. Dark, twisted, and perfect for those who like messed up thrillers. The audiobook is a treat as it is narrated SUPERBLY by a native UK speaker who can bounce back and forth between a British and Irish accent.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Bridget Jones will always be funny, but this one almost felt as if it was trying a little too hard to top the first book in the series. Bridget gets up to her usual hijinks, quickly loses her newly acquired boyfriend due to a series of misunderstandings, and has to fall back and the support of her friends (who are batshit crazy and I love them!). Her mom is up to more awkwardness, her work life is awful and why is nothing ever normal?! Her candid diary entries always make for a good laugh. The most absurd (and to me, funniest) part of the book is when Bridget ends up in a Taiwanese prison. Only she could get herself in such a fix. There were a few laugh out loud moments and I enjoyed this story.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fables: Animal Farm

How could I forget this gem!?  All is not well at the farm. When Snow White and her sister Rose Red go for for their bi-annual check up, something is seriously wrong. The mayor is "gone," there are shell casings everywhere, there is dissent, and suddenly one of the beloved three little piggies is murdered, his head put up on a spike. Snow White is determined to figure out what in the hell is going on, but she's on her own. Rose Res is teaming up with the "rebels" and she is unable to contact anyone on the outside. What's a girl to do?

Black-Eyed Susans

A thrilling suspense novel that keeps readers guessing as the story alternates between modern day and 1995 when a heinous crime occurs. Tessa was one of the lucky ones, the only black-eyed Susan who wasn't murdered. When she was in high school she was left for dead in a shallow grave with two other young dead women. She has no recall of what actually happened, it's as if her brain shut off. Her testimony helped put a man behind bars and now that his execution is coming up she has some doubts, as do many others. Is her really the one that tried to murder her? What if she's wrong? Also, who keeps planting black-eyed susans outside her window. Is the real killer still at large? I did not see the end coming, although I still have a few unanswered questions. An okay read.

Fables: Legends in Exile

It's been ages since I've read this series and I've been itching to get back to it, especially since I never finished reading them all! Legends in Exile opens up the series and sets the stage for the setting and many of the characters. In a vast, distant, and unreachable land there lived the legends of fairy tales and myths; Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, King Cole, The Big Bad Wolf, and thousands of others. When their land comes under attack they take refuge in our human world, hiding in plain site or out in the country if they can't keep their true forms hidden. When Snow White's sister Rose Red is presumed dead or missing, she gets the help of Wolf to get to the bottom of the mystery. Jack and Bluebeard come under serious scrutiny, but something is fishy about the whole affair. Fun and wonderfully drawn. A joy to get back to!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Spinning Silver

This book is more than likely to end up in my Christmas card top picks. I ADORED this book; the stars aligned and everything about it made me happy. I'm already anticipating reading it again, that's how much I liked it! Spinning Silver is a Russian folk tale/medieval-fantasy with bad ass heroines. The first of these heroines and the star of the whole show is, Miryem. Miryem has a great sense for bookkeeping and scheming and once she takes over her father's money lending trade in town and starts calling in debts (with interest) and investing them in other items, her family becomes relatively wealthy (rather then dirt poor like she had been raised). Next is Wanda. Wanda grew up even poorer than Miryem and when Miryem comes to collect her father's debt, her father basically sells her out as an indentured servant and Wanda starts working for Miryem and her family. Finally we have Irina, a wealthy Duke's daughter in a city a day's ride away. In the kingdom where they live, their lies a dark force, the Staryk. Whenever a shining white road appears and the snow thickens, the Staryk are near. Legends of their barbarity and thirst for gold are well known. One day Miryem's money skills are noticed and a Staryk leaves behind a small white coin pouch filled with three silver coins. Miryem knows that she needs to find a way to turn them into gold. Will she be able to fend off the Staryk? These three women will find their lives drawn together in unexpected ways. Although none of them were valued for their skills initials, they are more valuable then all the knights and gold in the kingdom. They are no damsels in distress! The "villains" if you will are also wonderful! I imagined the Staryk Lord as Jareth the Goblin King (which obviously makes Miryem Jennifer Connelly) and the demon possessed tsar as Lord Farquaad from Shrek. There's not too much fantasy, not really any romance to speak, but plenty of adventure and wit. BRB I'm going to go voraciously read all this author's others books!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Song of Achilles

WONDERFUL!!!!!! This author is off the chain! I read Circe earlier this year and was blown away. The Song of Achilles (her first novel) is also out of this world incredible. The amount of detail and character building and setting is insane. I absolutely loved this. As you can guess by the title, this novel is about Achilles; the interesting part though is that it is told through the perspective of Patroclus, his best friend, companion, and lover. All I knew about Patroclus was from the movie Troy, and of course it was totally Hollywoodized because there was no way they were going to make Achilles (played by Brad Pitt) GAY! In ancient Greek times?!? Gays?!?!?! The travesty! Seriously though, it was super common and probably less of a deal than it is in our modern times. Patroclus grows up as an exiled prince in Achilles' fathers' home. They become very close, much to Thetis' chagrin (Achilles mother who is a goddess). The prophecy says that he will be the greatest fighter in the world but if he goes to Troy... he will die. Will their love triumph or will Achilles desire to go down in history persevere? Included in this story are many other great Greek heroes and gods; Odysseus, Hector, Paris, Helen of Troy. It's all the cool stuff you learned in school about mythology and then forgot. Madeline Miller does a superb job weaving this story together to make it real, emotional, and relevant. I'm in love with this book.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Naughty Girls' Book Club

I'm not going to lie, this was a delightful, naughty little read. It's essentially a cozy, beach read, with some sex, a book club, happy endings (literally), and a cozy little cafe set in England. What's not to love. It's light, it's breezy, there's cute cliche characters of all ages and times of life (although no diversity to speak of) from a young feminist, to a newly married woman, to a divorcee, to a male graduate student and a recent retiree who is going stir crazy staying at home. What starts as a sweet and innocent book club at a local cafe quickly turns into an erotica book club by accident (the cafe owner had a scandalous book in her purse). The attendees who all started as strangers quickly become friends and find confidence in the personal (and sexual) lives. It's cute, it's fun, it's an all around good book that will make you want to read more erotica and join a book club!

The Gilded King

LOVED this! I've been looking for a new fantasy series to start and this is even better than I anticipated. My only complaint is that I'll now have to wait for the rest of the series to be published! And I have questions! And I'm impatient! The Gilded King is the first book in the high fantasy series, Sovereign. In this dystopian Europe (think Shannara) Blue is the last existing city in the world. At the top are the Nobles, aka the immortals, and below them are the human servants that they rely on. Julia is a lowly kitchen servant, but all that changes when she is assigned to be an attendant to a Noble. Her perspective on her very small world is about to be drastically changed. Outside the Blue is the Red, a place where contagion reigns supreme and the remnants of civilization lay buried. Mere humans can never survive in such a wasteland... or so they're told. In the Red, a noble is out searching; Cameron has been on the hunt for Emma for centuries, but nothing will stop him from combing the wild forests of the Red. Alternating chapters show Julia's mortal life in the Blue and Cameron's immortal life out in the Red; little do they know that both their worlds are to be forever altered by forces outside their control. They are living in the calm before the storm. A fantastic fantasy read and I can't wait to continue the series!


I'm not wiccan or currently practicing witchcraft, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the hell out of this book! The author is irreverent, funny, blunt, and honest - in short, everything I love in a non-fiction author. Divided into two sections, Enchantments covers witchy implements (alters, herbs, colors, stars, calendars, etc) and magical intentions (astrology, money drawing, attraction, etc.). Threaded in amongst all this fun knowledge are wonderful drawings and keen insight on modern witchcraft and whimsy. Even if that's not your bag, there's a lot of fun stuff about astrology, herbs, and cleaning that can be implemented in your life; this guide is as useful as you want it to be. A fun read that will reach a wide audience. 

One Dark Throne

I thought this was a very good follow up novel to the first (Three Dark Crowns) and it left me absolutely ravenous for the next installment! This is a fun and inventive young adult fantasy series and while it has the usual tropes; love triangles, teenage melodrama, sibling rivalry, fantastic settings, etc., it still stood out. The three queens (triplets separated at a young age to live within communities that shared their same powers) must battle during their sixteenth year and only one will be victorious and become the new de-facto queen of the whole island. The other two will be lost to history. Things get interesting though in this book and the one everyone thought would be the victor isn't looking too hot. Suddenly it's anyone's game. More excitement, more romance, more drama. I'm eating this series up!

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Even though this book is well over a century old it still holds up! It's funny, witty, and remarkably insightful into the head of a mischievous young boy. The games, and clothes, and manners may have changed; but kids would still be easily able to relate to the games that Tom Sawyer and his friend Huckleberry Finn play. From pirates to adventurers, they know how to have fun with practically nothing but their imagination. And the trouble, lord these two boys know how to get in trouble and worry their families half to death. From running away, getting lost in caves, witnessing a murder and more, Tom Sawyer is the king of trouble. A must read classic!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

My Life as a Goddess

I will admit, I had no idea who Guy was before I read this book, not even an iota. After reading this though, I am in awe that I somehow completely overlooked his whole career. He's so funny! How did our paths never cross? Part memoir, part humor, part history and pop culture lesson; this memoir is unique and entirely fun to read. I'm a huge fan of footnotes and there are A TON of footnotes; humorous asides, sarcastic comments, clarification, etc.  It's genius! The stories I enjoyed the most were the ones where Guy is rehashing his youth growing up in a quasi-Jewish home in the redneck hills of California as a giant gay child. It's humorous, real, raw at parts, but he never loses levity. Another great celebrity memoir by someone you  may or may not have heard of, but are certainly glad you did by the end of the book.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

84, Charing Cross Road

This was SUCH an adorable book. I had seen the movie as a small child but it's been years since I thought of it. Also, I didn't realize that this is nonfiction and the correspondence is all real. Until I got to the epilogue I thought for sure I was reading fiction, talk about getting your mind blown! 84, Charing Cross Road is a quaint little antiquarian bookstore in England and an unlikely correspondence blooms between one of the booksellers and an American bibliophile. It starts simple, inquiring about old hard to find editions and it quickly blossoms into friendship with Helene sending over cases of food (it is during the 50s and rations are still in full effect in Britain.). It's witty, engaging, and heartfelt; the correspondence lasts decades and it's amazing how a simple act of inquiring about books can draw people who live thousands of miles apart, together. I'm definitely going to re-watch the movie!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Get Jiro

This graphic novel didn't come to my attention until the unfortunate passing of Anthony Bourdain. It's published by Vertigo and it's decidedly different from any other comics on the market. In this near futuristic society freedom of expression is limited to food, that is where advances are and that's all people seem to care about. Rival foodie gangs struggle for power and in this hell-scape Jiro sets up a small unassuming sushi shop where his insane talents are quickly noticed by the top two crime lords who will stop at nothing to get him and his talents. It was alright, definitely inventive but overall not really my cup of tea.

The Beauty Suit

Fascinating experiment that forces critical thinking. Lauren Shields spends the better part of a year covering her hair (hats and scarves) as well as wearing long sleeves and non-revealing clothing. She spends more time talking about some of the major religions and cultures that practice modesty, myths and misconceptions about them, and what she learns by applying all this to her experiment. She doesn't want to dress in another culture's wardrobe because she (rightly) doesn't want to appropriate their dress. She spends more time talking about feminism and other cultures then she does on her own experiment, but I was okay with that. It was informative, exciting, and she did a good job being respectful of other religions and cultures while exploring how badass and feministic they can be.